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Paid Search Tips For Winning at eCommerce

Paid Search (PPC) is a great source of eCommerce business. In this article we look at a tips to help you quickly and effectively improve your conversion rate.

Cut Out The Dead Wood

One of the quickest and most effective ways to free up some spend for your campaign is to cut out the dead wood. So many times in the past have I run campaigns and been worried about removing certain keywords and ad groups because to my mind they ‘should’ be converting.

No Clicks

Look out for metric values such as low clicks, low CTR, overly expensive clicks & conversions, and anything not getting many impressions. Keywords with low impressions and/or high click cost may just need keyword or site tweaks to improve relevance and therefore Quality Score.

Before removing your under performing elements, make sure you have tried and tested the landing pages etc, you don’t want to be wasting the opportunity. However if these areas have been tested and still aren’t performing, it is often best to simply remove them and let your higher converting groups have the extra dollar instead.

Negative Keywords

This may sound obvious, but you’d be amazed at how many campaigns I see not staying on top of negative keywords and irrelevant search queries. Check these at least once a week to make sure you’re not wasting money.

Find your irrelevant search queries here in the keyword report:

Search Terms


… and add them here at the campaign or ad group level. Alternatively use AdWords Editor.

Negative Keywords

Think about your negative keyword match types as carefully as you would you positive keywords for fear of cutting out valuable traffic. Tailor negative keywords to your campaigns and ad groups, over generalising may cost you in the future.

Bid Adjustments

Dimensions Tab

The Dimensions tab is a treasure trove of trend data that can help you save pennies and cut down on waste, while pushing your most popular times and locations.

In the Dimensions tab you can see where your traffic and conversions come from in a number of ways…

Dimensions OptionsWhich dimensions you focus on depend very much on what kind of business you have and what your goals are, but the basic ‘go-to’s are often Time based, so day, time of day, and also location. Have a good play with these as you may be surprised where the patterns lie for your business.

Once you start to spot patterns in eCommerce conversion trends, increase or decrease bids as appropriate to maximise on these opportunities. This might be user locations, day of the week, time of day (ad scheduling). Every industry and business has some sort of pattern in their traffic and conversions, and you need to make sure your ads are most prominent at the right times.

Pricing In Ad Copy

Scotland Holiday

Including or excluding your pricing within ad copy is a tricky one.

On the plus side, a hefty discount or low sale price on specific products or brands can entice users in in greater numbers. On the minus side it gives competitors a handy guide to where to price themselves compared to you, and may increase the likelihood of wasted clicks from browsing users with little intent.

If you think including pricing might work for you, split test your ads with and without pricing on small, tight ad groups and see what works best for you.

It’s also worth considering the use of Ad Customisers, scripts, feeds, and other tools to keep these ads relevant and up to date.

Ad Group Level Site Links

SEAT Sitelinks

Site links have been available at ad group level for a fair while now, and if you’re not maximising their use then you’re missing out.

Each ad group can have up to 20 sitelinks, and these can be scheduled with start and end times. Link text is shorter at just 25 characters, and they can be mobile specific.

These links are great for products and services with an element of variety to them, for example a mobile phone case that comes in a range of patterns. Each pattern can now have its own targeted site link taking the user to exactly the design they want, simplifying the user experience and optimise the journey to conversion. Equally, it could show a user that what they are looking for is available in a larger range than they realised and entice them in that way.

Model Number Keywords

Another tricky one.

On one hand users should easily find what they are looking for by searching the model number, and if you are doing well organically then using PPC to target these terms may seem a little unnecessary.

On the other hand, if this is a popular product and/or you are in a particularly competitive field, this could make all the difference.

Users searching with a model number are clearly some way down the sales funnel, they already know exactly the product they want. This is so much more specific than the more generic keywords used to research products online, and chances are these guys are pretty close/ready to buy. I’d suggest it’s worth a little punt on PPC to try getting in front of these users, as long as your CPA remains acceptable.

Personally I would structure these in separate Ad Groups within Campaigns which contain other alternatives.

For example:


On a side note, this is also a nice little way to improve your Quality Score while you’re at it.

Brand Bidding

Secret Escapes

Also usually subject to debate, brand bidding is a must for eCommerce sites. Depending on your business, brand bidding will usually provide a very high conversion rate with very low CPAs. This may seem like a waste of time to some, who usually presume that users who search for your brand name will definitely click the top organic link without being distracted by other ads, brands, or offers. Think about it.

If you stock a number of brands, you need to be bidding on them in separate campaigns, with separate, well optimised landing pages. By keeping everything separate you create very high relevancy, a better Quality Score resulting in a lower CPC, better CTR, and higher chance of conversion.


I hope this helps a few people get started with eCommerce optimisation for PPC, next time we’ll look at optimising your content for eCommerce.

For a few ideas about how NOT to run your eCommerce site, take a peek at Al Moghadam’s post, eCommerce Sites: Pet Peeves and How to Fix Them.



Laura is a Digital Marketing Consultant with Aira Digital & Advance Promotions. With search experience in a large number of industries both in-house and agency side, Laura has a strong interest in conversion optimisation and web psychology.